CERTAINLY THE PRIVILEGED CLASSES WOULD HAVE LIKED TO RETAIN THE BENEFITS OF SCIENCE FOR THEMSELVES, AND LEAVE IGNORANCE TO THE PEOPLE, BUT HENCEFORTH THEIR SELFISH DESIRE CANNOT BE FULFILLED.
THEY FIND THEMSELVES IN THE CASE OF THE MAGICIAN IN THE "THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS," WHO UNSEALED A VASE IN WHICH A GENIUS HAD BEEN SHUT UP ASLEEP FOR TEN THOUSAND YEARS. THEY WOULD LIKE TO DRIVE HIM BACK INTO HIS RETREAT, TO FASTEN HIM DOWN UNDER A TRIPLE SEAL, BUT THEY HAVE LOST THE WORDS OF THE CHARM. AND THE GENIUS IS FREE FOR EVER.
HIS freedom of the human will is now asserting itself in every diredtron; it is preparing no small and partial revolutions, but one universal Revolution. It is throughout society as a whole, and every branch of its activity, that changes are making ready. Conservatives are not in the least mistaken when they speak in general terms of Revolutionists as enemies of religion, the family and property. Yes; Socialists do reject the authority of dogma and the intervention of the supernatural in nature, and, in this sense, however earnest their striving for the realization of their ideal, they are enemies of religion. Yes; they do desire the supression of the marriage market; they desire that unions should be free, depending only on mutual affection and respect for self and for the dignity of others, and, in this sense, however loving and devoted to those whose lives are associated with theirs, they are certainly the enemies of the legal family Yes; they do desire to put an end to the monopoly of land and capital, and to restore them to all, and, in this sense, however glad they may be to secure to every one the enjoyment of the fruits af the earth, they are the enemies of property.
"EVOLUTION AND REVOLUTION"
ETTER than myself, those good friends, Nettlau and Paul Reclus can certainly supply you with the letters which Mme. Dumesnil has made public, the best documents of Elisée Reclus.
If there is a man whom I have loved and admired it was Elisée Reclus. Then how can I truly express my sentiments in my poor style, without falling below the truth? Because of his integrity he had a decisive influence over those who came in contact with him. He did not encase himself in the superiority which a great many savants believe they possess. He did not expect one to come and find and summon him. He inclined toward simple men, toward workingmen before all others.
In 1882, Pierre Martin, a workingman weaver, subscribed to "Le Révolté" of Geneva. Elisée was at Vienna. He met him at work weaving, occupied in tying up the broken threads. This first conversation with the poor Pierre strengthened the character of the latter to the point of making him the sublime apostle of anarchism, whom we have always known to be unfailing, ready at the psychological moment.
When the Statist Society of rapine and lies found itself attacked, Elisée did not accord to the old world any extenuating circumstances.
In 1887, the locksmith Duval had appropriated that which he was in need of by taking from the capitalists, (exploitation, legal cambriolage is protected by the laws and the police of the state; illegal cambriolage, the taking back from the legalists is punished by imprisonment.) Whilst the police officer stopped him brusquely saying: "In the name of the law, we arrest you!" Duval taking out a fierce-point from his pocket stabbed him in the breast, thus using direct action, while answering the officer: "In the name of liberty I slay you!"
Whilst all the fawning dogs, from reactionaries to red socialists, disapproved, Elisée arose, pointed out the logic of Duval's acts, approving his energetic deeds for the right to live.
When he came to see us at the Commune Anarchiste de Montreuil, in 1892, I believe, his advice and criticisms made an impression on the comrades which they were bound to take into account. But a short time after, all the comrades were arrested for three or four months and incarcerated at Mazas, then set at liberty without trial; then re-arrested and again set at liberty; it was the death of the Commune Anarchiste de Montreuil.
At London, the great contradiclory conference that was held on Anarchism in 1897, to which all the leaders of the different parties who opposed it assisted, he responded separately and spontaneously with short, irrefutable phrases and with a logic which shook his adversaries. I often recollet how great this little man appeared in the midst of the vast arched hall at Holborn.
He was not like those officials who are never content except in palaces amidst courtiers, far from the tumult of the crowd, leaving the people in their ignorance. He loved the workingman in his simplicity inasmuch as he was himself an in defatigable worker of intellect for the endowment of humanity. How can I forget the beautiful morning I passed in his company in 1899 at Brussels? About six o'clock on Sunday morning he came to the Rue St. Georges, to call me beneath my windows, to come for a walk in the woods of la Cambre. Everything he explained me about the sky, the earth, the trees, the water, the animals, was a revelation for me. I was confounded by my own ignorance. Once I confessed to him my rudimentary education. It was he who eagerly excused it, like a comrade, telling me that in responding to him on some questions he asked me about the life of the workingmen, their trades, the different mentalities of the workers, with whom I have lived, he learned that of which he was ignorant. He did not want me to think that I taxed him: Always, one learns he said, that the more one knows the less he believes he knows; in short, the characteristic of the anarchist is never to pause and always ro desire to know more.
At the time of our expulsion from Belgium, as a souvenir, my wife asked him for his photo. He returned the next morning with that of Menusier, who was blown up in attempting to dynamite the palace of the czar and royal family of Russia. The simplicity and sincerity of Elisée Reclus was only comparable to his fertile erudition which he put at the service of all.